Dreams of Desire 39 (Sleeping Venus)

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Paul Delvaux-Sleeping Venus 1944

Another troubling erotic reverie by Paul Delvaux, that features a trademark sensuously reclining nude against an oppressive night-time setting. Delvaux later explained that it was painted during the wartime Nazi occupation of Brussels and he wanted to contrast the anguish of the period with the calm of Venus.

Also notable  is the presence of the skeleton, another frequent motif in Delvaux’s work, and references the Death and the Maiden theme that has been a feature of Western Art since the Renaissance and is related to the memento mori and vanitas genres.

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63 thoughts on “Dreams of Desire 39 (Sleeping Venus)

  1. Oh yes, this is so very strange. The women reaching up to the sky look so anguished when the sleeping woman and the clothed woman are so unaffected. And then the walking skeleton. So weird. Thanks for posting it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Again another wonderfully odd painting by Delvaux, especially with the mountains completely surrounding the courtyard as though the buildings are just cut outs, I like it. Eerie how much light the sliver of moon is putting out, and where’s the train? At first glance this appears serene, but looking at it in depth, there is so much going on. Wonderful painting choice to post about, lovely as ever.
    ~ Miss Cranes

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such strange contrasts – death, anguish, despair and the central figure in restful sleep. The clothed woman is utterly expressionless despite the fact that the skeleton mirrors her pose. As in – if the skeleton were turned toward us, they would be in the exact same pose. Really cool! More please!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Fantastic. I want to write another Divine Marquis school of writing post next week. Perhaps I’ll link to your bio of him with the Man Ray painting… And Tempting Fate? For Saturday? The November Nonsense ends tomorrow! Things can return to ‘normal’

        Liked by 1 person

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